There is nothing more dangerous than a newbie and a vegie patch!
I planted 8 cherry tomato plants and 8 Roma tomato plants. That is a lot of tomatoes for 2 people. Luckily, tomatoes (unlike cucumbers) are very versatile. I have already made some salsa and intend to dry some of the Roma tomatoes. If I still have too many, I will bottle the rest.
Cherry tomatoes are a little more problematic. Even I wouldn’t peel cherry tomatoes! Well … I don’t think I would.:) The only option I could think of was to make tomato puree. But tomato puree is very cheap and it would be a lot of work.
A recipe for pickled grape tomatoes in my Balls Blue Book Guide to Preserving caught my eye. I was seriously considering it (and I still might try it) but I wasn’t really convinced. It did get me thinking, though … so off to Eat Your Books I went, limited my search to “preserving“, typed in “cherry tomatoes” and up popped Bottled Cherry Tomatoes with Mint and Garlic from March/April 2011 issue of Cuisine Magazine. Perfect!!
I haven’t tried these because the recipe says to leave them for 4-6 weeks – they sure look good. According to Cuisine Magazine, they can be used “… on antipasti platters, tossed through pasta dishes or smeared on hot garlic bruschetta”, all of which sound excellent to me.
The Blue Book suggests serving their pickled tomatoes in the following manner: drain the tomatoes then mix the pickling liquid with ½ cup of olive oil, and a ½ teaspoon each of rosemary, oregano and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yummo!!
I made 5 x 500ml jars by making 1.5 times the recipe and I have quite a bit of pickling liquid left over. If you make the recipe, be prepared to have some fluid left over or, alternatively, have more than 1kg of cherry tomatoes. I suggest about 1.5kilograms.
Having spare pickling fluid is no big deal. More cherries tomatoes ripened today so I put them into a sterilised jar (along with some mint and garlic) and poured pickling fluid over them. Easy peasy.
The recipe is by Celia Harvey in Cuisine Magazine, Issue #45.
- 1kg firm cherry tomatoes (As I mentioned above, with this amount of cherry tomatoes, you will have left over pickling fluid.)
- mint leaves
- garlic cloves, peeled and roughly sliced
- 200g brown sugar
- 1 litre cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- Lightly prick each tomato a few times with a skewer. (My Balls Blue Book advises this helps prevent the skins from splitting.)
- Pack the tomatoes into sterilised jars, layering with the mint leaves and garlic cloves as you go. Pack the tomatoes as firmly as you can without damaging them. Make sure each jar is full.
- Place the sugar, cider vinegar, salt and peppercorns in a pan over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and cool completely.
- Pour the pickling liquid over the tomatoes. Gently push the tomatoes down to prevent air pockets forming.
- Tap each jar gently with a spoon to raise any air bubbles.
- Seal the jars.
Store in a cupboard for 4-6 weeks before opening. Refrigerate after opening. Cuisine Magazine indicates the tomatoes will last a year.
This sounds like a great solution for using up my abundance of cherry tomatoes. If I wanted to do a water bath to seal my lids would the tomatoes hold up to this type of processing?
Hi Sheri, I don’t know as I didn’t do it. They might go a bit mushy.
I love the look of these and would love to try them but I’m concerned that they aren’t processed for shelf life. How do they keep for a year unprocessed?
Hi Jill. They are pickled in the vinegar, the sugar, the salt and the acid from the vinegar preserve them. I have had no problems with mine. In fact, as it turns out, the year is very conservative. I hope you enjoy them.
Your mind must be working overload trying to come up with ideas to use all that produce, good on you I hate waste too.
Hiya Gail You betcha, we are working day and night. It is such a pity to have so much and not know many people here to give it to. It is a waste to throw it out when we went to so much effort to grow it in the first place. I just hope these cherry tomatoes are nice as I expect I will be making bottles and bottles of them. See you in Perth soon.
I have to move my tomato plant as the wind has blown away all the flowers. I would make tomato pasta sauce as it freezes well 🙂
Hi Tandy, I think I will dry the next lot of tomatoes that ripen. The freezer is bursting with all the silverbeet.
I am a fan of cherry tomatoes and basil . Have been trying to grow basil in my corridor garden but my rabbit finishes everything .I love dis simple recipe of urs . thx .
Thanks for visiting and commenting. The rabbits are also a problem here but my vegetable garden is raised so they cannot get in:)
I do the same as Celia with my tomatoes and use them for cooking, but there is nothing as satisfying as looking at a well stocked shelf of jars and bottles. My problem is that I preserve everything when I have a glut but then struggle to use it all up. Sometimes the first loss is the best one to take. That said, your tomatoes look fab and I’m sure you’ll devour them quickly.
Hi Anne. It is a dilemma isn’t it? Just how much do you bottle? When I am sick of something or something has been in the fridge too long, I usually put it in the pot when I am making dog food to liven it up. I haven’t had any complaints yet:)
One year I neglected to start my seeds earlier enough and I bought 1 cherry tomato plant from a nursery. That plant gave me more tomatoes than any I’ve ever had. I gave bags away to neighbors or anyone who visited. I cannot imagine what I would have done if I’d planted 3 or 4 of those plants. Your idea here, Glenda, is as good as any that I’ve seen. I think I’ll give it a try next season/. Thanks. I’m going to pin it so I can find it when I need it.
Hi John, just imagine what it is like with 8 very healthy plants:(
Good for you for finding a way to use them up! I also hate waste. They look fab, you must let us know how they taste.
Hi Sue, I will. They certainly have the potential to be lovely.
“There is nothing more dangerous than a newbie and a vegie patch!”
I am not laughing. I am not laughing. But I am grinning. The woman who can’t throw food away is facing a garden glut. But haven’t you found some wonderfully creative ways to use it up – this recipe looks fabulous!
We slice our romas in half, drizzle them with a little oil and salt, and roast them on a baking tray – squishing them halfway through their baking time with a potato masher. When they’re quite dry, we put some under vegetable oil in the fridge, and the rest in vac sealed bags in the freezer. They keep brilliantly in the freezer (and don’t take up much room), and we pull them out all the time to add to dishes. MUCH easier than making passata – as you say, it’s cheap and the bought stuff can be very good! 🙂
Hi Celia, That’s a great idea, thanks. I never thought of vacuum sealing and then freezing them. I usually store mine in oil in jars. When you take them out of the freezer are they good enough to add to an antipasto plate or do you have to cook them?
I think you need to cook them once they’re defrosted. They’re great on paellas and in lasagnes and pastas! I throw them into stews and curries as well. 🙂